Thursday, November 30, 2023

Endorses Funke for Mineral County sheriff

by Tyler M. Cheesman
| April 27, 2022 12:00 AM

It is my privilege to write this letter of support for Sergeant Ryan Funke for Mineral County Sheriff.

I have known Sergeant Funke since he moved to our county and have been honored to work closely with him in various roles throughout the community. In this time I have built a wonderful working relationship with him that I find rare in our community.

As a member of the community and school district, in the capacity of a mental health specialist, a school counselor, an emergency medical technician, a coach, an aunt and a community member; I have encountered many law enforcement officers who do their job well. They effectively serve and protect the community and make their presence known.

However, to encounter an officer like Sergeant Funke who does not simply serve and protect but has a gift of serving the community is rare. In my lifetime in Mineral County, eight years as an employee with St. Regis School District and seven years with Superior Ambulance Service, I have only come across a few other officers who demonstrated a portion of the enthusiasm, passion and pride for his community and the wellbeing of our young students. There is no doubt in my mind that Sergeant Funke exemplifies the criteria to be voted as Sheriff of Mineral County.

In working with Sergeant Funke over the past four and a half years, I have been witness to his enthusiasm and inspiration as a deputy, a sergeant, a father, a volunteer assistant coach and a community member both while on duty and in his spare time as a civilian. Our community presents so many challenges to a person in Sergeant Funke's role and he takes on these challenges with perseverance and professionalism, all while keeping a smile on his face and the most positive outcome in mind. Sergeant Funke finds a way to support every person and child in our community and works to build and maintain relationships with all of them.

When working with law enforcement in my various roles Sergeant Funke is the one who is always willing and able to go above what is required of him to ensure the best outcome for all involved. As a school counselor he is there for our students on duty and off whenever we need him. There have been times we have had children in serious crisis' and have waited hours for dispatch to send us someone and have even gone without anyone being sent to us. When I feel it is highly important for a follow up Sergeant Funke always makes the time, even in his off time, to check in with the individual.

Many law enforcement officers tell our students that they care for them but Sergeant Funke shows them that he cares. He has spent time in my classroom explaining what a job in law enforcement entails, he has read books to our elementary students during Read Across America Week, he volunteered as part of my coaching staff during high school girl's basketball and he makes a point to come to every school event a student invites him to. He has single handedly changed the relationship between law enforcement and students in our community by showing up and supporting our students.

Throughout my time in the school district I am asked, almost on a weekly basis, when Sergeant Funke will return for another visit. These students are ecstatic every time he comes to the school and are honored when he attends their sporting events, school events and especially their high school graduation.

During COVID, our seniors were allowed a minimal number of guests and more than one of them requested Sergeant Funke's presence. In a time like we are currently facing we need someone our young adults and students can relate to and trust in law enforcement. Sergeant Funke always follows strict policies and protocols in regards to privacy and respect of our students.

As an EMT I have witnessed Sergeant Funke truly take time to understand the situation of my patients and ensure they are taken care of properly. He has even taken initiative and found ailments that would have otherwise been undiscovered and called for EMS units on calls that would normally be a stand down or cancel. I am beyond grateful and impressed with his attention

to detail. He has assisted with traffic control on calls outside of his expected hours and always answers when he is called for help.

As a community member and aunt of three students in the community I am humbled with the support and care he shows them in the community and at school. He has attended my nephew's sporting events and has gone out of his way to compliment him on his achievements aside from any legal history with his father. He did not only attend my older nephew's graduation but he gave him a shout out and special thank you for the personal invite. He has been willing and able to assist in community events and is always happy to partake as a community member.

Sergeant Funke is what many of us long for real leadership. A true leader is a person who dedicates their life to serving their fellow community members. It is an individual who through their knowledge and experience makes us feel secure, protected and acknowledged during both our proudest achievements and our darkest hours. Sergeant Funke is the epitome of leadership and would be the best candidate I have ever met for Sheriff of Mineral County.

Thank you for this opportunity to share and shed light on a truly gifted law enforcement officer. I would love to discuss this with you further if you have any questions or concerns.

— Tyler M. Cheesman is school counselor at St. Regis School

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